Do you know as twilight gleams with showers;
Fluorescent flowers, that rocket-red-glare flare,
Wowing with their pyrotechnic powers
That bloom then boom like bombs that burst in air
And spangle white hot stars across the beach,
That liberty is slipping out of reach?

Do you know as hotdogs spit and sizzle
And English Kings lie rotting in the past,
That hard-won wonders are about to fizzle
And die? These days may be our very last
To fly the flag that turned oppression’s tide
Before our stars and stripes are nullified.

Do you know we need to stand together
To keep our independence burning bright;
To never let a tyrant tame and tether
The spirit of the brave who had to fight
For rights within a land that heard the voice
Of souls rejoice in freedom? Make your choice!



Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England.  She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas.  Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).

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30 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    Susan just hit it out of the park on our nation’s birthday, as calls begin to mount for a new flag, and those who “represent” us at the olympics are promising to disrespect the Stars and Stripes.
    May they lose in every possible way.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joe, thank you for this. It’s sad to see the controversy surrounding Old Glory – the same is going on in my homeland with the Union Jack. I’m sorry to say it, but I really do fear we’re heading on the road to ruin much quicker than I anticipated and without the aid of a roadmap to steer us in the right direction.

      • Joe Tessitore

        Indeed, Susan.
        It feels like being attacked by a blitzkrieg, or like finding yourself riding on the crest of a tsunami.

        No matter where I go, though, I find myself surrounded by like-minded people and we all feel it.
        At a barbecue yesterday, a cousin told me that she feels like we’re being turned into North Korea.

      • Joe Tessitore

        P.S. What’s the issue with the Union Jack?
        We have friends in England and haven’t heard about it.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joe, I can see where your friend is coming from on the North Korea comment, and all those who have views that don’t align with government spiel, big tech, and media propaganda will feel the same. Let’s hope enough people speaking out will turn the tide.

      The Union Jack has long been under attack. After Brexit the traditional Last Night at the Proms had the EU flags flying, in spite of the vote to leave the EU. These days the rainbow flag of pride waves alongside it on many buildings, and there were recently 12000 angry people protesting a Union Jack welcoming people to Wales. It’s also been disrespected in sport much the same as the Stars and Stripes.

      Apparently, the United States and the United Kingdom are the first nations to fly a rainbow Pride flag at their diplomatic missions in the Arab Gulf. Article 354 of the United Arab Emirates’ criminal code states that “whoever uses coercion in having sexual intercourse with a female or sodomy with a male shall be sentenced to capital punishment.” Those pushing for Globalism are completely blind to the consequences. They are leading the Western world to the cruelest oppression imaginable. Let’s hope the woke wake up soon!

  2. Mike Bryant

    I love the poem… Happy Fourth of July!
    This song by Aaron Lewis is a perfect accompaniment to your thoughtful poem.


    The Lyrics:

    Am I The Only One – Aaron Lewis

    Am I the only one here tonight
    Shakin’ my head and thinkin’ somethin’ ain’t right
    Is it just me? Am I losin’ my mind?
    Am I standin’ on the edge of the end of time?

    Am I the only one? Tell me I’m not
    Who thinks they’re takin’ all the good we got
    And turnin’ it bad, hell, I’ll be damned
    I think I’m turnin’ into my old man

    Am I the only one, willin’ to bleed
    Or take a bullet for bein’ free
    Screamin’, “What the hell!” at my TV
    For tellin’ me, yeah are tellin’ me?
    That I’m the only one, willin’ to fight
    For my love for the red and white
    And the blue burnin’ on the ground
    Another statue comin’ down in a town near you

    Watchin’ the threads of Old Glory come undone
    Am I the only one?

    Am I the only one not brainwashed?
    Makin’ my way through the land of the lost
    Who still gives a shit, and worries ‘bout his kids
    As they try to undo all the things he did?

    Am I the only one who can’t take no more
    Screamin’ “If you don’t like it there’s the frickin’ door”
    This ain’t the freedom we’ve been fightin’ for
    It was something more, yeah, it was something more
    Am I the only one willin’ to fight
    For my love for the red and white
    And the blue burnin’ on the ground
    Another statue comin’ down in a town near you

    Watchin’ the threads of Old Glory come undone
    Am I the only one?

    Am I the only one who quit singin’ along
    Every time they play a Springsteen song?

    Am I the only one sittin’ here
    Still holdin’ on, holdin’ back my tears
    For the ones who paid with the lives they gave
    God bless the U S A !
    I’m not the only one, willin’ to fight
    For the love of the red and white
    And the blue burnin’ on the ground
    Another statue comin’ down in a town near you

    Watchin’ the threads of Old Glory come undone
    Am I the only one?

    I can’t be the only one.

  3. Jeff Eardley

    Mike, happy 4th and thank you so much for introducing me to Aaron and this powerful country song.
    Your hard won freedoms should never be eroded by minorities. It’s happening over here too.

    • Mike Bryant

      Jeff, I think you and I have lived long enough to see that the artists react first to tightening authoritarianism. I saw videos of the English crowding the streets of London, and here the Trump rallies are starting up again. Who would have thought the hippies of the sixties would become the new authoritarians?

  4. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, happy July 4th and thank you for this disturbing and most powerful poetic statement on the state of your nation. “English Kings rotting in the past” is wonderful. I hope this gets wider coverage.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Jeff. I never gave Independence Day much thought until I became an American citizen, and now, it means a lot – especially in these draconian times.

      Until now, the fourth of July meant the wedding anniversary of Doris and Bill, my late grandparents. On their Sixtieth anniversary, their sparkling diamond celebration had guests marveling at the golden words of congratulations from Queen Elizabeth II (no less). Crystal flutes bubbled and we giggled and cheered as the octogenarian sweethearts swayed to Engelbert’s Last Waltz. Nan’s ailing hip and failing heart forbade her, but Granddad’s eyes persuaded her otherwise. Their souls blazed for one another, and, as I stood in chains of past pain on the shimmering periphery, I felt the hug of love and the hope of it finding me.

      It did!

      Now, in Texas, the Fourth of July means a day of picnics, fireworks, and a star-spangled nod to Independence, while I glow in the gift of love’s liberation with a wink to Doris and Bill!

      Here’s to a brighter, freer future – the USA, the UK, and everywhere!


    Susan, thank you for another splendid offering. This one inspires but it also packs a couple of gut punches. There is great power in the way you invoke the Star Spangled Banner’s most explosive images and then contrast it with the quiet but forceful observation that “liberty is slipping out of reach.”
    Then you brilliantly present the gamut of what Independence Day means from the utterly trivial (the hot dogs) to the most consequential (those rotting English kings and the turning of oppression’s tide) to present context and to also show what’s at stake. Then you really bring it home in the third stanza with a call to action which brings in the spiritual essence of the fight for liberty (souls and brave spirits versus tyrants.) Brilliantly done.

    Your reference to “standing together” made me recall Benjamin Franklin on the signing of the Declaration of Independence who said “we must indeed all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” “Make your choice” indeed!

    Happy Independence Day!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, a very Happy Independence Day to you too! Once again you’ve exposed the very heart of my message concisely and eloquently and have thrilled me with the knowledge that my poem ‘packs a couple of gut punches’.

      Becoming an American citizen meant I had to study American history, and it filled my heart with the bravery of those who made an arduous journey and then fought for their land and freedom against the iron-fisted rule of the British. It was a hard won battle that I feel is taken for granted or shunned as damning by a huge swathe of the population. I also believe there are just as many who have every gratitude for the price their forefathers paid for the life they have led in a country that promotes individual rights and freedoms that pave the way to independence and success for anyone who wants to tread that path. Propaganda has told those who love their country that they are the minority, that they are wrong, and that they’re alone. They’re not! I’m standing right alongside them. I am proud to be an American citizen. Thank you for your continued support of my poetry and my message, Brian. It means a lot.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Mike. You make me proud to be an American!

  6. Cynthia Erlandson

    Susan, this is very moving. I think the thing that makes it the most moving is the echoes of our national anthem, as Brian has mentioned. Your idea is profound, and as always, beautifully executed. America is blessed to have you as a citizen.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cynthia, thank you for your beautiful words. I am proud to be a citizen of this great nation and hope with all my heart its people remain free to pursue happiness.

  7. Sally Cook

    Dear Susan —
    I used to think my father was old-fashioned.
    When he discovered we read the New York Times, he called us Communists.
    Now the Times is long gone, and I display out flag with pride. Sometimes Bob says “Have I turned into your father?” and I say to him “I am so glad he isn’t here to see this!”
    Something very evil is afoot.
    Your fine poem presents a challenge.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dearest Sally, your comments always provide me with a golden nugget of American life, and I love this story of your father and the New York Times. I am glad my grandparents are not alive now. Having lived through the brutal battles of WWII, they would be filled with despair at the way we are relinquishing every freedom they earned in the deceptive name of ‘human rights’.

  8. Roy E. Peterson

    An exquisite rendition as always with the appropriate foreboding and warning. We are faced with a coming choice to live free or face subjugation from within that most of us thought impossible until now. Thank you for presenting reality in stark, yet beautifully written terms.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Roy, this means a lot coming from you. I am pushing back poetically and I am glad my message comes across loud and clear. Let’s hope our words will bring the harsh truth to light and get others standing up for our waning independence too. Thank you!

  9. Margaret Coats

    Like others, I admire the phrases from the national anthem so well used in your composition of important questions. This is not what you might have written just a year ago. Now we need to recollect our customary English freedoms handed down through the Founding Fathers of the American nation. Did so this morning by singing “America the Beautiful” with American citizens hailing from Nigeria, Vietnam, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, and yes, one from England!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Margaret, thank you for this heart-warming comment that tells us of the wonderful, embracing nation of worldwide immigrants America is. I am singing “America the Beautiful” alongside you and hoping that many see the light before it’s too late. You are spot-on when you say I may not have written this poem last year. That worries me. I hope by this time next year, our road to ruin will have been blocked by those who stand alongside us in the realization they are having their freedoms ripped from them deviously and devilishly. We are a divided nation – if we were united we could achieve so much… and those pushing this cruel agenda know it.

  10. Gunny Markefka

    Dear Susan,

    I especially appreciate your lines:

    “Do you know we need to stand together
    To keep our independence burning bright;”

    This carries the spirit of freedom, liberty beyond space and time. My song “Freedom Now” published on the Independence Day was once created in the Zeitgeist of the German reunification; in 1990 the collective desire “to stand together” and embark into a better future was stronger than the lurking pessimism, which – I believe – only poetry can overcome. You say “Until now, the fourth of July meant the wedding anniversary of Doris and Bill, my late grandparents.”

    The idea of publishing a song on the fourth of July may be anachronistic, but I am looking forward to a 1st “Song Birthday” on July 4th in 2022.

    Freedom Now

    Music & Lyrics by Guntbert (Gunny) Markefka

    They light their candles for their dreams.
    They light their candles for their fears.
    In the churches they could gather,
    To wipe away their tears.

    Millions of people are treated like fools,
    They have been used like tools,
    From a high-handed regime.

    They light their candles for their hopes.
    They light their candles for their truth.
    Now they can taste the freedom,
    No dictator can approve.

    Just a rosy paraphrase, can´t soothe.
    What they harvest now are fruits of wrath.
    Still the pigs are all –

    Freedom now – freedom now!

    They light their candles for the dead.
    All their candles all their calls,
    Are the last scene of a tragedy,
    And the iron curtain falls.

    Here one direct link:

    You can also search other Digital Audio Platforms for “Gunny Markefka – Freedom Now”

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Gunny, thank you for this… I admire your talent!

  11. Julian D. Woodruff

    Susan how your brilliance sets up the sinking end to the 1st stanza!
    And as for the ending of the whole, it reminds me of Sondheim, in Follies: imagine the land of the free intoning to the people, “Could I leave you? Yes. Would I leave you? Guess!”

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Julian, thank you so much for your comment. I have just listened to Carol Burnett singing the “Would I leave you?” on YouTube and I love it! I can see where my poem could raise the exact same question. I’m hoping and praying for a favorable answer.

  12. Daniel Kemper

    A classic call to arms in such well executed verse! I love the writing, but feel that we will need more of these as our nation begins to resist the grinding down.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Daniel, sadly I’m inclined to agree with you. I’m also thrilled you enjoyed my writing. Thank you for dropping by.

  13. Mark

    A very nice poem regarding the significance of the 4th as well as the dangers to it.
    Just learned about you and your work today in the Epoch Times.
    Keep up the great work.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Mark, I’m pleased you read James Sale’s wonderful article and visited my latest poem. Independence Day, 2021 felt a lot different due to political changes, and I simply had to address it poetically. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for your encouragement. It’s much appreciated.


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